I’m feeling frustrated by words. Lately I can’t seem to find the right ones. I think I’m being clear, but then people misunderstand or get hurt or angry. I used to be good with words. I used to be a writer–I did an MFA-level program in creative writing–but now I don’t write. Now I can’t even make myself understood.
It feels unbearable, as melodramatic as it sounds.
I finally found my voice when I got away from my family, but I don’t have the words I need anymore. What’s the point of a voice if the words are lifeless?
God, I sound angsty and melodramatic. (A judgment that results, at least in part, from all that education in creative writing.)
So I’m borrowing someone else’s words. I do that a lot these days. These are a few poems from David Budbill’s collection Moment to Moment, which I think everyone everywhere should read.
Trying to Be Who I Already Am
People tell me I am arrogant and pigheaded,
narrow-minded and vain
because I won’t follow this week’s guru into his
seventeen steps for improving my life.
Well, I’m over here in a different place—
with T’ao Ch’ien who says,
My nature comes of itself. It isn’t something
you can force into line.
So, please, leave me alone.
I don’t want your advice.
I’m just trying to be
who I already am.
My Fate Is to Rebel
If you say yes,
I’ll say no.
If poetry is this,
I’ll write not-this.